The spirit of salsa 

Music Review

Nikki Cormaci
Music Review Nikki Cormaci Orquestra Bravo's next gig will be at the Jazz Kitchen on April 28. Orquesta Bravo Havana Night at the Savoy Friday, April 7 Two gorgeous Latin women dug lanky black stilettos into the white tile and flanked an enthusiastic Hawaiian-shirted Latin man as colored light bounced across the room. The frontman grabbed the mic and opened up with a big smile and a well-received “Bienvenidos!” Soon the room exploded in a crack of timbales and the spirit of salsa. Orquesta Bravo, an amalgamation of musicians who joined permanent forces to share with Hoosiers the vitalizing energy of live salsa music, performed two sets for Havana Night at the Savoy on West 86th Street Friday night. Havana Night at the Savoy brings out Indy’s vibrant salsa community with the lure of liquor, lights and the occasional live concert. “If it’s midnight and there is nobody here I get worried, but it’s a late crowd,” said Marques Gunter, a local salsa dancer and one of the major organizers of the event. Although the club was never packed, people steadily arrived after 11:30 and, as predicted, by midnight the club held a respectable crowd, which was energetic and yet accommodated dancers with enough territory to be comfortably bold. The band went deep in the first set, with wailing brass and sax solos seasoned with hot American jazz. The percussive drive of the keyboard and timbales reminded the crowd that they had come to dance and they willingly obliged. The weakest moments came from the female vocalists who, despite some lovely harmonies, seemed awkwardly under-rehearsed and, at times, mumbled unconfidently under the groove. DJ Mic split the evening with Orquesta Bravo. He spun a 45-minute set in between Orquesta Bravo’s two 10-song sets. “They’re playing a lot of old school, which these people like,” said DJ Mic. The Orquesta did stick with mostly classic salsa, steering clear of bachata and reggaeton — a detail DJ Mic was happy to remedy during his set, which was heavily steeped in deep reggaeton.

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